I honestly don’t know about the latest round of mess that has broken out across the Middle East and the Muslim World.
I don’t know what to think.
I don’t know what to write.
I do know it was nice to pray about this on Sunday at church.
I also know there is A LOT of other folks out there who have put much thought into it, and have written much, so I’d rather share what I’ve been reading than pontificate without a point.
Over at On The Media, Sarah Abdurrahman focuses on the crappy movie trailer of “Innocence of Muslims” that ignited the firestorm, and notices some funkiness with the dubbing.
One thing that is immediately evident from watching the nearly 14-minute long trailer for the film is how low the production quality is. I mean really, it is unbelievable that this movie could have cost anywhere near the reported $5 million that it took to make it. Because the production value is so atrociously low, the terrible audio and dubbing just seems par for the course. But on further inspection I noticed something: seemingly every reference to the religion of Islam in the trailer is dubbed over in post production.
If you watch closely, you can see that when the actors are reading parts of the script that do not contain Islam-specific language, the audio from the sound stage is used (the audio that was recorded as the actors were simultaneously being filmed). But anytime the actors are referring to something specific to the religion (the Prophet Muhammed, the Quran, etc.) the audio recorded during filming is replaced with a poorly executed post-production dub. And if you look EVEN closer, you can see that the actors’ mouths are saying something other than what the dub is saying.
For example, at 2:53, the voiceover says “His name is Muhammed. And we can call him The Father Unknown.” In this case, the whole line is dubbed, and it appears the actor is actually saying, “His name is George (?). And we can call him The Father Unknown.” I assume the filmmakers thought they were being slick, thinking that dubbing the whole line instead of just the name would make it more seamless and less noticeable to the viewer. But once you start to look for these dubs, it’s hard to see anything else.
I tried to watch this God-awful trailer, but by the six minute mark, I wanted to rip my hair out. It’s not only offensive to Islam and to Muslims, but it’s downright repulsive to movie lovers of any stripe. I think my fourth grade class was more convincing in our Christmas play.
Inexplicably to me, my neighbor went and got a hammer and brandished it, threatening to beat my head in with it. He set fire to the sofa I was sitting on, ululating loudly that he wanted me to leave or his god would destroy me and all I love.
I naturally concluded that we are close friends and that I needed to bring my furniture over, as well as a lot of my extended relations, and move into his house. He is currently out in the driveway setting fire to my car, as well as calling lots of his friends and sending them to the houses of my relations, to set fire to them. Oh that silly childlike neighbor of mine and his inexplicable mood swings. Really we are the best of friends. I don’t see a reason in the world to ever leave his house. And I think I know what’s best for both of us. Some people are saying I should just leave his house, take my family, friends and our stuff and go back to my house. That’s crazy talk. An enemy is just a friend who wants to kill me.
Some will say, “We have to stay and fight because this is Al-Quaeda!” I reply, “If this is nothing but Al-Quaeda, now massing crowds in 20 countries then all that stuff we’ve been hearing for years about how we’ve got ‘em on the run and totally decimated their ranks is seriously amiss.” If, as I think, this is a popular uprising that stretches far beyond the alleged thinned-out ranks of Al Quaeda, then the obvious question is, “How many people in foreign countries have to scream, ‘Get out!’ before we say, ‘It’s your country. Goodbye.’ and leave.”
We’re 16 trillion in debt. Time to shrink the Empire. They don’t want us there. So why be there?
When you burn the American flag you burn my flesh. When you speak ill of the Prophets of God, you stab me in the eye.
… We all come to these scenarios from our own life experiences and with all of the information we gather in life to learn to cope with such situation.
Since I was a young man of 15, I’ve been deeply engaged in the situation of Muslim Americans sociologically. The beautiful colors of identity and faith that make up the most diverse religious group of America serves as the core of my personal identity. As an American of Egyptian heritage who chooses Islam as a faith, I once again find myself with a bleeding blind eye and singed flesh on my bones.
I’ve come to find great sadness, not comfort, when resorting to scripture to ameliorate my aches and intellectual dissonance. I have recited so much the Quranic verses about how the killing of an innocent life is like the killing of all of humanity and how it is impermissible to use tactics that are forbidden by Islam to defend the honor of God and his Prophets, that these verses are committed to memory.
I think of the Prophet Muhammad worrying about the absence of trash and filth at his doorstep because it indicated the woman abusing him might be sick and in need of support. The same Prophet that forbade any violent reaction by esteemed companions when a man urinated inside his mosque in his presence to offend him.
For a movie that no one would have otherwise seen, people who claim to follow this Prophet desecrated the honor of a whole nation and tarnished the greatness of our faith. Surely I am not surprised that people who claim to follow a faith can let their banal human emotive reactions to instigation sway them toward injustice. I just hoped my people, having read those specific words in the Quran, would not be among them. This wasn’t the case.
What frustrates me the most is the confusion I see on all ends…
Eternal God, in whom the whole family of earth is one, breathe your spirit into our hearts that we may establish a global community of trust and fellowship, justice and peace. Illumine the darkness of our minds that we may see your light, think your thoughts, and serve your glory by advancing the greater good of all people; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Reform, O God, the passions and designs of our hearts. Let your steady hand guide the nations, and bring forth out of our discord a harmony more perfect than we can conceive – a new humility, a new understanding, a new purity and sincerity, a new sense of truth, and a new hunger and thirst for your love to rule the earth. Amen.
Grant, O God, that our President and leaders may approach every question of foreign policy from your point of view, that their noblest thoughts may be purified and strengthened. Help us check in ourselves and in others every temper which makes for violence, and all promptings of self-assertion, isolation, and arrogance, that we may understand the aspirations of other countries, and may gladly do what lies in us to remove every misunderstanding, thus serving the welfare of all people. Amen.